By GLEN JOHNSON
AP Political Writer
– Massachusetts’s top election official says it could take weeks to certify the results of the upcoming U.S. Senate special election. That delay could let President Barack Obama preserve a key 60th vote for his health care overhaul even if the Republican who has vowed to kill it wins Democrat Edward M. Kennedy’s former seat.
Secretary of State William F. Galvin, citing state law, says city and town clerks must wait at least 10 days for absentee ballots to arrive before they certify the results of the Jan. 19 election. They then have five more days to file the returns with his office.
Galvin bypassed the provision in 2007 so his fellow Democrats could gain a House vote they needed to override a veto of then-Republican President George W. Bush, but the secretary says U.S. Senate rules would preclude a similar rush today.
The potential delay has become a rallying point for the GOP, which argues Democrats have been twisting the rules to pass the health care bill despite public opposition. It’s also prompted criticism from government watchdogs.
“We believe that elections should be by the people and for the people, and when the people have spoken, the system ought not be politicized,” said Common Cause President Bob Edgar, a former member of Congress. “If the Republican wins, the person should be seated immediately. If the Democrat wins, the person should be seated immediately.” Complete Story: